TITLE: 365 Stories by James Robertson
PUBLISHER: Hamish Hamilton
RELEASE DATE: 6 November 2014
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
In 2013, James Robertson wrote a story every day. Each was exactly 365 words long. A year later, on a daily basis, the stories were published on the Five Dials website. Now the 365 stories are gathered together in one volume. Some draw on elements of ancient myth and legend, others are outtakes from Scottish history and folklore; there are squibs and satires, songs and ballads in disguise, fairy tales, stories inspired by dreams or in the form of interviews, and personal memories and observations.
Underpinning all of them are vital questions: Who are we? What are we doing here? What happens next?
Before the beginning there was nothing (THE BEGINNING, 1 JANUARY)
WHAT I THOUGHT
I’ve wanted to read this book for ages since I stumbled across it by accident when browsing Amazon. I loved the idea behind it – 365 stories of 365 words, one for every day of the year. When I saw it at my local library I just had to borrow it.
365 Stories contains some of the best short, short fiction I’ve read. Writing very short fiction (say under 500 words) is a particular skill and not everyone can pull it off. The author is a genius and I’m impressed by the very fact this collection exists. I was impressed by the range and depth of the stories which covered a multitude of themes and subjects. It would have been easier to use the same themes over and over but the author doesn’t fall into this trap. Some stories have the same characters and situations but written in a different way. My favourite stories were the ones that take their roots from myth. I also really enjoyed the humorous stories about Jack and the Beanstalk and the crazy prophet, Simon Stoblichities. The January stories are slightly weaker than the others as the author finds his feet and goes from strength to strength. My favourite months were March, June, August, October and December. My only criticism is that my interest waned during the last quarter of the collection. I haven’t read a collection with so many stories before. I think the stories would be better taken in smaller chunks (i.e. read the stories for January, move onto something else, read the February stories at least a month later etc.). 365 Stories is highly recommended.